Nuffield Trust response to Labour’s social care announcement

Natasha Curry, our Deputy Director of Policy, welcomes a plan to address England’s crumbling social care system, but says more detail is needed, with the proposal for it just to apply to those over 65 years old representing a missed opportunity.

Press release

Published: 23/09/2019

Responding to Labour’s announcement this morning of free personal care for people over the age of 65, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said:

"We welcome a plan to address England’s crumbling social care system, and funding a new system out of general taxation makes sense. It has the potential to provide a fair and flexible source of much-needed revenue, both now and in future. 

"However, it is not yet clear how that extra taxation will be raised, and we are concerned that the proposals only apply to those over 65 years old. That represents a missed opportunity, as it is vital that any future system meets the needs of everyone in society, regardless of age.

"Free personal care will support individuals over 65 with many of the costs associated with social care. But we need to hear more detail about what will be included in this offer to work out how much it will really protect them from high costs. In addition, it isn’t yet clear at which level the proposed lifetime ‘cap’ – which will limit how much all individuals pay for care – will be set, and what it applies to. If it’s set at too high a level then people could still face very high costs. 

"Reforming the social care system is also not just about funding. With 110,000 job vacancies in social care, any proposal needs to address that growing staffing crisis – while bringing stability to those organisations providing care. Crucially what is needed now is a genuine cross-party effort to build a system that will be sustainable and be fair to all."

Notes to editors

  1. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate.
  2. More commentary from the Nuffield Trust on social care can be found at
  3. For all queries or to arrange an interview, please contact Meilir Jones at (020 7462 0552).